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Gut health benefits of curcumin

The gut microbiome is now believed to influence every aspect of human health and is an important mediator of the therapeutic activities mediated by phytonutrients like those found in turmeric.

N. Kalyanam, Ph.D.

September 14, 2020

2 Min Read
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Turmeric, the powdered rhizome of Curcuma longa, has been extensively used in traditional and alternative systems of medicine for addressing inflammatory issues such as arthritis, hepatitis and digestive disorders.

The bioavailability challenge

Despite encouraging biological effects demonstrated in cell-based studies, preclinical and clinical trials, a significant criticism of curcumin is its poor bioavailability. Pharmacokinetic studies of curcumin in humans have recorded a meager recovery of curcumin in the serum after oral intake. Poor absorption, quick metabolism, chemical instability and rapid systemic elimination are the primary reasons for citing poor bioavailability.

Numerous products have swarmed the market with dramatic claims of highly increased curcumin bioavailability. An exceedingly large number of these products have based their enhanced bioavailability claims on faulty premises by measuring not the native or unmodified curcumin in blood components, but the levels of curcumin glucuronide, an inactive metabolite alluded to earlier, thus rendering their claims of higher bioavailability moot.

Gut microbiota and curcumin

The gut microbiome is now believed to influence every aspect of human health and is an important mediator of the therapeutic activities mediated by phytonutrients. Increasing evidence suggests curcumin’s therapeutic activities may not necessarily rely on its bioavailability, but rather, from its positive influence on gastrointestinal (GI) health and function.

Mounting evidence from several preclinical and clinical studies suggests curcumin is a natural agent with positive influences on GI health and function. 

To read this article in its entirety, check out the Rooting for curcumin – digital magazine.

N. Kalyanam, Ph.D., is the president of Sami-Sabinsa Group research and development (R&D). His interests are synthetic methodology and chiral chemistry. After obtaining his doctorate in organic chemistry from Baylor University in Texas, Kalyanam researched organic synthesis procedures and then returned to India. At Sabinsa, he focuses on developing efficient and novel scientific routes for xenobiotics and intermediates, as well as exploration of new business areas.

About the Author(s)

N. Kalyanam, Ph.D.

President, R&D, Sabinsa

Dr. Kalyanam is the President of Sami-Sabinsa Group R&D His research interests are synthetic methodology and chiral chemistry. He obtained his M.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Madras and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Baylor University (Texas). Upon completing his Ph.D., Dr. Kalyanam completed two years of postdoctoral studies focusing on organic synthesis procedures before returning to India. In India he worked for a number of reputable companies, IPCL, Ciba Geigy, and SPIC Pharma, to which he made major scientific contributions. Dr. Kalyanam's primary responsibilities at Sabinsa include development of efficient and novel scientific routes for xenobiotics and intermediates as well as exploration of new business areas.

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